16 4 / 2014

Everyone needs help once in a while… entrepreneurs are no exception!

Blogpost by: Rafael Pires - Co-founder at Startup Pirates

Originally posted on Helpeo’s blog

Recently I have had several conversations about the role of acceleration programs and the real value they provide to the teams and entrepreneurs attending the programs. One of the most consensual advantage seems to be their network of mentors. A good mentor can help an early venture to get access to early customers and partners, and that might make a big diference.

Learning by doing is great but nothing beats actual experience. You can read books and blogs, see a bunch of educational videos or generically search the web, but only an experienced mentor will be able to share real wisdom specific for you on a regular basis. One question might arise… Entrepreneurs by definition are busy people, so why do they bother mentoring others? Usually, the answer is because they want to give back to the community. It also might be because they really like the work of a specific new startup and they want to be involved.

Looking from the new entrepreneurs perspective, there are plenty of benefits to make you look for a mentor:

  • When you are working on your own startup you won’t have a boss anymore, which means you don’t have that person to look for advice. Your mentor can be your second opinion or even (sometimes it’s needed) your emotional support. Also, they will make you work because you want to have results to show them.
  • You’ll learn from their mistakes and successes. Probably they have been in your shoes several times.
  • Access to a broader network. As an experienced business person, it is very likely that your mentor has a good network that he might open to you if he/she sees the potential of the connection. This is much more willing to happen with your mentor, with whom you developed a relationship, than with a casual acquaintance, let’s say, from a meetup.
  • The majority of the times, they do it for free. As I mentioned before, they are doing it because they want to give back to the community. Sometimes it can happen that some mentors ask for some small equity in exchange.

Looking to the other side, we also have to acknowledge that not all the experienced entrepreneurs make a good mentor. But what does it mean to be a great mentor? I’m not gonna try to answer this question, because David Cohen, founder of TechStars, already did it with his “Mentor manifesto” that I recommend you to read.

Blogpost by: Rafael Pires - Co-founder at Startup Pirates 



02 4 / 2014

Startup Pirates by the words of a local organizing team!

Blogpost by: Rafael Pires - Co-founder at Startup Pirates 


Last month I went to Hungary to join Startup Pirates @ Budapest. The program was organized by a group of students from the MCC (Mathias Corvinus Collegium), an unconventional college with an awesome motto:  “Bonus intra, melior exi” which translates to “come in good, go out better”.

From the very first moment I was really impressed by the great job they were doing…but let’s see their opinion about the organization:

Zoltán Kovács-Osváth:


One of the most influential week of my life so far. In a nutshell this was Startup Pirates @ Budapest to me.

On the first days of the summer vacation we heard Startup Pirates plans to have an accelerator week in Hungary. It didn’t take long to form a group of students of Mathias Corvinus Collegium who were thrilled to be part of an international startup event.

We were extremely excited about the event because we could see a very good opportunity for us to learn more about the startup culture and also gain measurable experience in the field of event planning and project management.

For me personally the most important lesson was that every member of a team performs at his or her best when they have clear motivation and purpose. This is the task of the project leader to find out about these and organize the work in the way that everybody finds it worth of spending all the time and energy.

However, in the first weeks the synergy in the team was far from perfect, as the week of the event was getting closer and closer we were doing better job, manage and share tasks in more suitable ways. At the very end of the preparation there was nearly no need of assigning smaller tasks individually because all the workload was divided in a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive way to reach a maximum efficiency.

I could just encourage everyone who wishes to organize such an event. The infinite seas of the startup world holds a unique experience for every single pirate and being part of it as a Startup Pirate organizer can be the key for a long awaited treasure.

Janka Deli:


Summing up adventures and experiences after a one-week-long event seems to be hard. However, the more intensive impression it takes on you, the easier it is to remember those significant points which really count. 

5 months of organisation & preparation, 8 days of  event management with 18-20 hours  spent on everything including boiling water for coffee, introducing lecturers, networking with investors, dishwashing, dealing with unforeseeable, sudden technical problems etc., daily. But working hard is worth doing when with such an effort come highly ambitious and talented participants with inspiring ideas, expert speakers, useful lectures, practical advice, new connections, promising opportunities and having party like a pirate, not mentioning the chance to be part of a team and be proud afterwards, making an event like this happen with huge success.

I am so grateful for everyone I met or connected via Startup Pirates, that I cannot resist the temptation to continue!

Judit Minda:


If you ask me, what I’ve learnt from being an organizer of Startup Pirates Budapest, a whole book wouldn’t be enough to list it. Inspiration, self-confidence, challenge and networking. Some words, that describe the week, and while looking back, I am really proud of being part of it. Of course, I would recommend it to others, as you can learn much more from it, than at a project management course at university.

Gergely Huszár:


When we started Startup Pirates Budapest we thought it’s the chance to give something new to the Hungarian startup community. But it was only during the event, and first of all after it that we realized the real value of it. I don’t know if Startup Pirates @ Budapest will turn out to be the cradle of companies that will make it very high, but I know that people who came here got some new elements to a puzzle they wish to piece together; teammates, advice and inspiration. As Henry Ford once said, ‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’ I believe SP @ Budapest could be a beginning for many, and success lies ahead of some.

Dániel Zagyva:


During the months of organizing Startup Pirates Budapest I felt like a startupper, I felt that I was creating something new (at least new in Hungary) that would have a great value for others. It motivated me and gave me the opportunity to gain a lot of great experiences. Our Crew was great, we learnt a lot from each other too. By the end we learnt that thanks to this event our team has become part of the relatively small Hungarian startup culture. We met a great number of successful entrepreneurs and investors and all of them had a great opinion about the concept of Startup Pirates. The feedbacks and congratulations after the event also made it clear that it was worth joining the Pirate Team. In my opinion we have reached our goal and helped our participants realize their dreams and they met the spirit of the Pirates!

Ádám Mihalovics:


At first glance, organizing Startup Pirates here, in Budapest seemed pretty challenging and difficult, but it turned out to be much more than that. Much more difficult, but on the other hand, a pretty bad-ass experience, a chance to get to know interesting and funny old (and not that old:)) sea dogs and have some fun, learn and live a lot of things in one awesome package, a package that I can only recommend to everyone, future crew members and future pirates, as well.

Blogpost by: Rafael Pires - Co-founder at Startup Pirates 



27 3 / 2014

Meet a Pirate: Celso Benídio

Celso is 24 years old and a his background is in Management and Finance. He’s Portuguese, his parents are African and he’s lived in Brazil for 6 months, in Ukraine and England for 2. While student, he has successfully co-founded a Finance & Investment Professional Organization at the University and after graduation he was part of the launching team of a leading Corporate Venture Capital in Portugal. Cinema, music and reading, and of course traveling, are part of this Pirate’s life.

Tell us, what have you been doing since Startup Pirates @ Braga 2014?

I’ve been working hard with my partner on the business idea we presented on the final pitch.

What do you want to achieve in:

the next month: 

To launch the beta version of our website 

the next year: 

To run a promising startup 

the next 10 years: 

To have helped launching several promising companies

Who are your role models? Why?

Belmiro de Azevedo for his role on empowering the North of Portugal ignoring all benefits of being 300km down in the country;

Amancio Ortega for his personality and low profile lifestyle;

Eike Batista, despite his several mistakes, Eike was one of the most amazing entrepreneurs Brazil has ever seen;

Shophia Amoruso, a self-made women, a truly entrepreneur, a trendsetter.

What do you want to say to people that are thinking about applying to a Startup Pirates event or are about to join one?

Just do it, you won’t regret it!

Keep rocking Celso!


25 3 / 2014

New Perk Partner aboard: Welcome Talentsquare!


We gladly introduce you to a brand new Perk Partner!

Talentsquare is a one stop shop talent management platform which allows talents to manage their profile throughout their career and employers to funnel applicants through a state of the art ATS.

Talentsquare is a best practice tool to recruit and select applicants brought to you by Alpsquare, a digital HR agency providing innovative solutions and advice to source, engage, recruit and select Talent. They build end-to-end campaigns to source and engage candidates for immediate or future hiring.

Alpsquare is offering one-year free usage of Talentsquare’s Professional Account for all startups or projects that are part of the Startup Pirates’ network.

Welcome aboard!


24 3 / 2014

Your startup called, it wants its team back

Blogpost by: Daniela Monteiro - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates

Nowadays there is a big offer for events dedicated to entrepreneurs and its startups. It goes from impressive conferences to rewarding and possibly life changing startup competitions. Just Google “startup competition” and you’ll find a wide variety of events, for all startups’ formats and shapes.

It means that some organizations have been making efforts to provide to startups the best access to mentoring, knowledge, investment, media coverage, prizes, partnerships, prestige and we could keep counting. Competitions can be a true launching platform for some startups.

But we have been assisting to a “dangerous” behaviour. Some teams just get so caught in the Bermuda triangle of competitions that sometimes, all the efforts are focused here, rather than on developing a product that clients really want to buy and monetizing it. Events are very rich in terms of collecting valuable feedback and to understand the next steps to take. But after the event, it’s time to evaluate what happened, make some decisions and to execute.

There is no recipe and it’s hard to find a balance. All the pros and cons must be considered when evaluating an opportunity, as in everything in life. Follow your gut, but be conscious: is it clear that the competitions are being useful and pushing your business forward?

Are you trying to make your startup a beauty pageant queen or a fearless, effective and sustainable problem solver?

Blogpost by: Daniela Monteiro - Co-Founder of Startup Pirates



21 3 / 2014

Meet a Pirate: Laura Frazão


Laura is a traveler. She loves to go to different places, to have new experiences and discover new cultures. She’s a design student with a passion for innovation and creativity. Flavored by the culture of her birth city, Rio de Janeiro, she’s a true “carioca”. Bust most of all, she’s a pirate!

Laura, tell us, what have you been doing since Startup Pirates @ Porto 2014?

My group and I decided to keep studying and developing the idea we had during the program, so we have met a couple times and gave a few more steps. Mainly, though, I’ve been looking for different opportunities to learn more and be involved in activities about innovation, entrepreneurship and youth in action.

What do you want to achieve in:

the next month: 

I’m going to a social work internship in Summer, so I want to have that all settled and resolved.

the next year:
Have a good internship in a service design or social design agency.

the next 10 years:
I want to have my own agency and work with service design and also work to help solve complex social issues in my country.

Who are your role models? Why?
It may be a little cliché, but the first one in that list is my father, who taught me that to achieve my dreams I need to study a lot, work hard and think positively to make the best of every situation. The second one in my list is David Kelley, the founder of IDEO and one of the creator of Stanford d.school. He’s not only a leader in innovation and creative processes, but he also sees design as a human-centered process that is not limited by the traditional boundaries.

What do you want to say to people that are thinking about applying to a Startup Pirates event or are about to join one?
The Startup Pirates program helped me realize how intense - and rewarding - can be to create a startup. Enjoy every moment, talk to everyone you can, explore each activity. Even if you don’t have plans to immediately create a new enterpreneurial project, it helps you open up your mind and gives you new tools to start when you want.

Wanna know more about Laura? Meet her on